Volkswagen e-up! review
The Volkswagen e-up! electric city car was given a midlife nip-and-tuck in 2020, including a bigger battery that helped to substantially improve its range
- Grown-up driving experience
- Decent real-world range
- Excellent visibility
- Interior quality not the best
- No infotainment system
- Cable storage is poor
|Car type||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Electric||159 miles||5hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.2kW)||48mins (10-80%, 30kW)|
While the long-awaited Volkswagen ID.3 family hatchback finally arrived in the UK in late 2020, the forthcoming ID.2 city car is still several years away from production, so in the meantime the e-up! has a rather important job to do.
The latest e-up! is a significant improvement on the original model that launched in 2014; a more energy-dense 36.8kWh battery occupies the same physical space as the old 18.7kWh unit, so the car now returns up to 159 miles of range on a single charge.
It’ll do 0-62mph in around 12 seconds, but a hit of instant torque – synonymous with electric cars – means it feels faster and more fun than the numbers suggest. Inside, the e-up! is surprisingly spacious, but it’s let down by a spartan dashboard that features a crude smartphone cradle instead of a more modern touchscreen infotainment system.
Quality is good, but fresher rivals like the Honda e and MINI Electric appear more upmarket and trump the up! for standard kit. Still, you pay a premium for those models, despite the fact they’re no bigger or practical than the cleverly conceived Volkswagen.
Orders for the e-up! were suspended in the UK for several months in late 2020 due to high demand, but it can now once again be configured on the company's website. Its Skoda Citigo-e iV sister model has definitively ended production, but the equally mechanically identical SEAT Mii electric is still available, too.
While a near-£20,000 asking price made the e-up! look rather expensive, in some ways it’s a more convincing package than several cars costing £5-£10,000 more. And nearly-new or lightly used models are available from dealers now, representing even better value for money. For a more detailed look at the Volkswagen e-up!, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Volkswagen e-up! electric city car was given a midlife nip-and-tuck in 2020, including a bigger battery that helped to substantially improve its range
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe latest Volkswagen e-up! has much longer range than its predecessor thanks to a more energy-dense battery, making it a more usable electric car than before
- 3Running costsThe Volkswagen e-up! is small, light and very cheap to run, so switching from an equivalent petrol-engined car could save you thousands
- 4Electric motor, drive & performanceThe Volkswagen e-up! can’t compete with the fastest electric cars, but it’s a strong performer given its diminutive size and intended use
- 5Interior & comfortWhile the VW e-up! feels well screwed together inside, the lack of a proper touchscreen infotainment system lets it down a bit
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThe VW e-up! is a small car, but thankfully it differs little from the cleverly packaged petrol-engined model when it comes to practicality and boot space
- 7Reliability & safetyThe Volkswagen e-up! is based on a design that's nearly a decade old, which means it’s not as safe as more modern electric vehicles. Reliability should be good, though.